We are the shepherds in the dark, his Angels of Mercy. - Scriptures, Book of Reclaiming 4:45
The recording flickered on suddenly, showing her sitting on the lowered ramp of a Retribution. Her long red hair was pulled back by a discarded strand of cut wire. Her black flight suit was unzipped to her waist, the top slouched around her hips. She wore a thin grey tank beneath it. Her knees were bent with her datapad propped up against them. For the last hour she'd been struggling to write something.
"So our CEO proposed a contest to the Corp. Write something about our most august Empress, it can be anything, a sermon, poem, whatever. Normally I wouldn't give two fracks about it, but seeing how theres prize money involved I thought I'd give it a shot. A few mil can go a long way to fatten an Ensign's wallet and mine is looking a little bleak after buying this baby here."
She tapped her hand against the Retro's ramp.
"Got her for a steal actually. She belonged to some dumb pen-pushing officer from the Echa Raiders. One day he gets a notion to join the front lines, ships up in this beauty fresh off the market, didn't even take it out for a test flight either mind you, jumps straight into combat and bam, warps right into a nest of reds at zero with his wingman right behind him. He gets locked and scram'd as his wingman explodes a half second later. The rest of the fleet warps in and he manages to make it out, though it didn't do him much good in the end. He got back to his hangar with his wingman smeared across his screen and just lost it. Blowed his brains out in the cockpit."
She shrugged, her expression indifferent.
"Pilots are a superstious lot but I can't afford to be. Anyhow, she cleaned up real nice and I don't think she can bring me any worse luck than I already have. Not like I'm lighting up the killboards with my wins."
She laid the datapad beside her and stretched her legs out.
"I can't fly her yet, though in roughly ten days I should be able to take her out. Lieutenant Tyrell has been giving me some pointers on flying it, he recently has been using a Retro in the war though he doesn't much care for them. He says the enemies like to primary them too much for his comfort."
"Speaking of Garst, I ran into him off duty last night at Paradise. I ended up having a few drinks with him and a recruit by the name of Darius. Nice enough guy. Garst was on his best behavior thank God. I think he's afraid of setting me off or something. It's a bit ironic how he treats me now, not because of what I revealed to him but in spite of it."
"An even stranger thing happened before that. I was docked up in Lantorn when I got a message that I was requested at the Praetoria Public Hall by the slave of Michael Priboj. I met up with him in one of the private rooms there, curious to why Priboj had an interest in me. Apparently he has been following my brief career and wants to offer his help, though the slave was never specific on how he wished to help me. I just find it all a bit strange. Usually the brass doesn't take much notice of me unless it is in a negative way."
"Like Captain Newell for instance. Two nights ago I stopped by the Basilica hoping to find Zenton and found her instead, talking to Koronakesh. She immediatelly pulled me to the side and apologized for jumping to conclusions about why I had gone to the SkyHook. She said that Kor was trying to manipulate her, insinuating the worst, even trying to bring down Zenton and Garst with me. She said that she overreacted and well, what could I say? I had been chewing on that anger for days, just waiting to spit in her face, Captain or not, but no, she just had to go and apologize."
"So I forgave her, then we started talking about other things. She said she wanted to talk to me as a sister, off duty. Gods, I was a naive little fool to believe that. Anyhow, she started telling me about how she was 'burned out'. She made me feel really sorry for her, then I tried to make her feel better by opening up a bit. I should have learned my lesson with Garst, I know. I should know that the brass is still the brass even if they are not in uniform."
"She got offended when I told her she needed to find something else to live for besides God and Empire."
"She told me that my thoughts were borderline heresy in some circles. I told her that thinking wasn't a crime, and that I was out there everyday fighting a war in God's name, that my actions were pure and true and that she had nothing on me."
"She then said I sounded like Koronakesh and that is when I lost my temper. I told her that I'd had just about enough of it, that I was nothing like that manipulating bastard and I was tired of being compared to him."
She sighed as she absentmindedly rocked her feet from side to side, tapping her boots against the metallic ramp.
"I am many things but I'm no traitor."
She suddenly frowned as she thought about V.
"Well. Not anymore."